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Bishop Ramazzini, Friend of the Poor, Named a Cardinal

We received with joy the news that Bishop Ramazzini of the Diocese of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, is one of the new Cardinals that will be created by Pope Francis at the October consistory.

Mark and Louise Zwick met Bishop Ramazzini in the in his former Diocese of San Marcos. They were concerned about the plight of many homeless migrants in Tecún Umán, Guatemala, a city on the Mexico-Guatemala border. As they started their journey to the United States or as they were deported back to their country, the migrants had no resources.  Hearing from guests of our houses that they stayed in a park that they called “The Park of the Desolate,” we hoped to find local Guatemalans interested in helping. Mark thought of beginning by speaking to the Bishop. Bishop Ramazzini was very receptive and Casa Juan Diego collaborated with him in constructing a building and center there for migrant women. We attended his beautiful liturgies and parish celebrations.

Bishop Ramazzini is well known for his defense of the poor, of migrants, of humble workers so often exploited. He has worked for land reform and confronted the activities of drug traffickers and coyotes, as well as international mining corporations who were adversely affecting the lives of the people. As a human rights advocate in a country with a history of extreme violence, he received several death threats. Undeterred, he continued his work as a Bishop and pastor to the whole community, especially including the indigenous poor, a large percentage of the Guatemalan population.

Congratulations to Pope Francis for selecting Bishop Ramazzini, a true disciple of Jesus and the Gospel, a  shepherd to all of his flock who defends their human dignity. An outstanding new advisor and assistant for the Pope.

Bishop Ramazzini’s comments to his people as he learned that he will be a Cardinal were widely published, especially in Latin America:

“I give thanks to God and to Pope Francis for giving me the chance to be an advisor to him in order to tell him what is happening in this part of the world, where many times the information that arrives at the Vatican does not reflect the reality of your lives. The responsibility that I take on is to carry the voices of the Catholic and non-Catholic people of Guatemala to those offices where important decisions are made for the whole Church.”


Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXXIX, No. 4, October-December 2019